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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents key terms and concepts in the study of ancient gender and sexuality. It outlines how knowledge of the terms and concepts’ historical developments as well as their internal relations in Pauline usage is essential in order to grasp Paul’s positions and his own praxis. It also demonstrates how issues of gender and sexuality are part of the core of Pauline theology. Rather than continuing the discussions of asceticism versus marriage in Pauline literature, the article suggests that a more recent term borrowed from gender studies, “intimacies,” may give new insights—not least into how Paul describes his own relationships to his most Significant Other(s). Key examples are Paul’s discussions of penises, foreskins, and circumcision and their attached privileges (hierarchy or equality? Galatians 3–4), and the role of asceticism (1 Corinthians). The chapter also includes a survey of how Paul describes his closest male and female partners.

Keywords: sexuality, intimacies, conceptual history, taxonomy, sexual terminology, Pauline letters, foreskin

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